In interview with...
Simranjeet Kaur Mann
Trainee Solicitor, Womble Bond Dickinson
Simranjeet Kaur Mann is a future trainee solicitor at Womble Bond Dickinson, a UK Top 20 law firm! We caught up wtih Simranjeet to find out how, after facing some rejection, she managed to secure 3 training contract offers! Simranjeet has her own YouTube Channel where she shares various tips on how best to approach the training contract process, how to write successful applications and how to do the Watson Glaser Test, as well as a number of other useful tips!
Tell our readers a little bit about your law journey so far? Were you successful first time or did you face some rejection along the way?
So, I studied Law at the University of Bristol and graduated in 2018. I always thought I wanted to be a solicitor but this view changed whilst at Uni as I realised how competitive the career was, and I wasn’t as engaged with my law degree either. Therefore, I explored other options, which lead me to doing an internship at EY in their Business Tax team. This made me realise I liked the ‘corporate’ world and that I wanted to be a part of this. Consequently, by having a Big 4 firm on my CV, I believe this helped me in gaining a Vacation Scheme at PwC. However, I was so complacent during this vac scheme and unsurprisingly I was rejected. I decided to become a paralegal afterwards, which actually was the best decision for me, as I realised despite my lack of engagement with my law degree, I actually really enjoyed practising the law. This passion transferred to my applications and I eventually secured 2 further vacation schemes and 3 training contract offers overall. This was a journey that did have a lot of rejections along the way; I was rejected at least once from every stage of the process from the online tests,
to video interviews, to assessment centres, to the final interview.
How did you approach your TC search / journey?
At first, I approached my TC journey in a very haphazard manner, where there was no tailoring, no real thought as to why I was applying to that firm specifically and no proper effort placed into explaining my points. I then realised that to gain a TC I would have to finetune every single process involved, and therefore my approach changed into adopting consistent self-improvement. I started to understand that the process involved recognising that I am not the ‘perfect’ candidate, that there was always room for feedback and improvement. I also approached my TC search by looking for firms that suited my personal objectives; I did not just want to apply to a firm because everyone else applied to that firm. This narrowed my search to only those firms that have small trainee intakes, but also retained an international presence. I wanted to be trained at a firm where I would be one of a few, as I could foster closer professional relationships with everyone on a first-name basis, rather than just being known as the ‘trainee in Real Estate’ for example.
What did you find the most daunting part of the process
and how did you overcome it?
The most daunting part of the process for me was the uncertainty of it all. There were many times where I just felt, wow Sim you are working so hard, you are putting in so much time, what if you don’t even get the TC in the end? Would all this time have gone to waste? Should I consider other careers? I overcame this by repeating positive mantras to myself, understanding that everyone has their own journey and that if I work hard, the right outcome for me will come by, regardless of whether that outcome is that I get a TC or not.
Is there a secret formula to drafting TCs? If so, what do you think it is?
I would say question every statement you write. If you’re writing that you’re interested in the firm’s M&A Practice, think why and then also how you can show that same interest to the firm. If you are simply providing statements without answering those ‘why’ and ‘how’ questions, your reasoning would not appear genuine to grad recruitment. Throughout your application as well, I think it’s important to keep in mind why you’re applying to the firm, and why you’re pursuing this career. This is particularly useful for the work experience sections and highlighting how those transferable skills are relatable to not only your future legal career, but also the firm you’re applying to.
Do you recommend any resources / websites that helped you?
• The Corporate Law Academy – this helped with providing insider advice from individuals who had already gained experienced with particular firms.
• YouTube – honestly this helped me so much with improving how to write my applications and was one of the motivators for why I started my own channel. Just typing things like, ‘How can I improve my training contract applications’ can provide many results.
• The Business Update, LittleLaw and BBC News – helped me with my commercial awareness
• The firm’s website is one of the most important sources for me when I was in the process
Resources that are available now that weren’t available when I was in the process:
• The Commercial Law Academy
• Watson’s Daily
• Law Miracle
• Legal Podcasts e.g. legally speaking podcast, Harry Clark’s podcast
• LinkedIn posts
Not many people can say they’ve had 3 training contract offers! Why do you think you’ve been so successful and what tips can you pass on?
I would say there were three reasons for my achievement here; being patient, being confident in myself, and being open to consistent self-improvement. I started to not take rejections personally and not affect the image I had of myself as a competent individual. I also started believing that with faith and patience, I will get there; hard work always pays off! Positive mindset was absolutely key for me, as it allowed me to manage the obstacles and uncertainty and to just keep at it!
Finally, are you leaning towards commercial law or private client?
Commercial by far haha! I did a private client module on the LPC and it was the bane of my life. I didn’t like the tax element and it was also too personal; dealing with people’s estates in the eventuality that they will be dying was actually quite draining for me to study! I do find myself doing more commercial work as a lawyer, but I am also trying to keep an open mind too. My mind has changed a lot about the law in general, from University, to my time as a paralegal, to when I was doing the LPC. So you never know, I could actually qualify in private client in two years time, who knows?!